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Ground broken at YARS

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Noah J. Tancer and Mr. Eric M. White
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A groundbreaking ceremony gave greater visibility to what some have deemed a hidden gem nestled among cornfields in Vienna, Ohio, on April 23, 2024.

After years of effort toward funding appropriation, project planning, land acquisition and contracting, marked dirt in the field outside Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s fence was broken with golden shovels. There, in approximately one year, a brand new main gate, security facility and visitor center meeting current Air Force standards will stand.

“This was the culmination of a lot of hard work, a lot of contributions from the community,” said Col. Mike Maloney, 910th Airlift Wing commander.

Youngstown ARS was constructed in 1955 on land adjacent to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. Through the following decades, the footprint of the installation gradually expanded to include 71 buildings spread over 230 acres with an additional 91 acres leased from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Port Authority to provide an assault runway for training purposes. The main gate relocation project further expands the footprint by more than 40 acres and three new buildings.

More importantly, the project will enhance the security of the installation to currency with Air Force standards and the safety of 910th Airlift Wing Airmen and local community members by decongesting traffic flow on King Graves Road.

“It gives us better visibility on who is coming to the base,” said Maloney. “It’s more advanced for vehicle screening. It’s better protection for the security forces that are manning the gate.”

Although the current main gate has stood for decades as an able sentry for the base populous and infrastructure, post 9/11 changes to security requirements to protect against the threat of terrorism necessitate the relocation and upgrade project.

“The threat, frankly, is bigger than it was back in the day,” said Maloney, “so we have to shift with the times and increase our security awareness.”

Now that construction has begun, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, will oversee development.

“We’re responsible for the design and construction of the project, and then at the time we complete the project, we’ll turn it over to the base and they’ll have it for operational use,” said Cristie Mitchell, a representative of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The main gate relocation project is one of several developments at Youngstown Air Reserve Station helping the installation modernize for the future and remain combat-ready. Other initiatives include an expansion of the assault training runway and replacement of the 910th Airlift Wing’s fleet of C-130H Hercules aircraft with new C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft, providing greater mission capabilities.